Amy Poehler as Joy
Phyllis Smith as Sadness
Richard Kind as Bing Bong
Kaitlyn Dias as Riley
Co-directed by Pete Docter
Co-written by Ronnie Del Carmen, Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, and Meg LeFauve

Inside Out won a Golden Globe for best Animated Motion Picture this year. It is also nominated for two Academy Awards ®–Best Animated Feature and Best Original Screenplay.

Riley is a young girl with lots of feelings. Her feelings are attached to memories. And her feelings are in charge of her life. They are personified on screen as color-coded little dudes and dudettes running complex machinery to help Riley live her life. One day, there is a problem with the works, which leaves Joy and Sadness to fight their way back to the control room before a vault of Riley’s memories are lost forever.

Pixar rocks. Pete Docter (of Monsters, Inc. and UP fame) and his team of writers have brilliantly created a world of emotions in which the emotions are alive. The science and research behind this script is mind-boggling. And it’s absolutely perfect. If I was still teaching, I’d watch this during the emotional health unit. It’s that accurate.

Before you get all excited about me sharing another amazing Pixar film, let me tell you something: this is not my favorite. Most of the time, Pixar’s newest release is my favorite of all the other films they’ve released. Not so here. It’s good, don’t get me wrong. It totally broke the mold for storytelling. I just don’t LOOOOOOOOOVE it like I love other Pixar films (Finding Nemo and the Incredibles, for instance). Sorry.

But I did like the animation very much. Each of the emotions seems to be a loosely-bonded shape made of sparkles and fuzz and (duh) feelings. They are fluid, fluffy, solid, and beautiful. The landscapes of Riley’s mind are a great way to solidify something so abstract. And Bing Bong, the pink elephant who spent many years as Riley’s imaginary friend, is weird enough to remind us that we’re all pretty weird and unique and that’s the best way to be. We can’t allow ourselves to lose that and conform. Good lesson, Pixar.

Weepy Meter: 4/10 It’s about emotions. You’ll feel the feels. Sometimes they are sad feels. But mostly they are happy feels. So you can be happy crying.

Man Meter: 3/10 I know I’m supposed to be writing about atypical films for the stereotypical chicks, but this is NOMINATED for OSCARS®! So he may not choose it, but it is definitely smart enough and sciencey enough to pique the interest and hold him for the whole film. And, really, who doesn’t like animation?

Overall Rating: 7/10  I’ve seen better. It’s good, just not a favorite.

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